The polar bear population of Cochrane is about to grow by two-thirds.  The polar bear habitat in the Rail Town is getting ready for some temporary tenants from the Quebec Aquarium.

Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat executive director Michael Honeth (HAWN-it) says Eddy and Tiger will arrive at the end of February, and make it their home for the rest of 2019.  That’s because their digs in Quebec are being renovated.

Honeth says there are concerns that they might not get along with Henry, Ganuk and Inukshuk.

“We’ve taken precautions” he says, “so we’ve built a brand new enclosure for them, a new holding building, so that we can keep them separate and that way we don’t have to worry about any kind of unexpected interactions between them.”

Will they ever be integrated with the three permanent resident polar bears?

“Probably not,” Honeth cautions, ”but we’ll take it one day at a time and see how they respond to their new environment.”

Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat executive director Michael Honeth holds the door open to all Cochrane residents, who pay no admission fee, Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2019. Photo credit: Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat

Unfortunately, the two new inhabitants won’t arrive in time for Local Appreciation Days at the Polar Bear Habit.

Michel Honeth (HAWN-it) says starting Monday, Jan, 28 until Sun., Feb. 3, the admission fee is waived for Cochrane residents.

“We’ve been in the community now for 15 years and they have supported us with barely a question,” he says. “ So we just feel we’ve come to a place now where we’re expanding and growing and giving them an opportunity to see what’s happened in the last 15 years.”

As Honeth points out, people tend to take their local attractions for granted, except when family visits.

”We are trying to invite everybody who does live here and who doesn’t normally come here to see what we at the polar bear habitat, it’s their habitat.”

There are special presentations planned on Saturday and Sunday, and a social media photo contest is on all week.